British Airways resumed flights to and from Heathrow Airport when a walkout by its ground crew ended. But the airline said it would take several days to fully restore its service and get thousands of stranded passengers to their final destinations.
Though all of the 1,000 striking workers returned to their jobs Friday afternoon, hundreds of flights had been canceled at one of the world's busiest airports during the peak of the summer travel season.
Friday night, the airline resumed some flights, hoping to send 32 from Heathrow, half of them to British or continental European locations, the rest on long-haul flights to the Middle East, Asia and the United States.
But Becky Thornton, a BA spokeswoman, said it would take several days before all the stranded passengers are helped.
Seventy thousand BA passengers were stranded on Friday, half at Heathrow and half at other airports hoping to fly to Heathrow, Thornton said. On Thursday, that figure stood at 40,000 passengers, she said.
BA tried to book as many of those customers as possible onto other airlines or reimburse them for buying tickets on other carriers, Thornton said.
She said the airline also must get 100 BA aircraft and 1,000 BA flight crew employees that were stranded by the industrial action back where they belong.
"It will take several days to get some stability to our schedule," she told The Associated Press.Hundreds of baggage handlers and other ground staff walked out Thursday in support of workers fired by US-owned catering firm Gate Gourmet. Analysts warned the airline faced losses of tens of millions of pounds.